• “Michael Dominic’s charming, informative and powerful documentary
    Clean Hands, is a wake-up call that we all need.”

    - Bianca Garner, Filmotomy
  • "Clean Hands views poverty through an unbiased lens."

    - Anne Gelhaus, The San Jose Mercury News
  • "The benefit of 7 years of filming this documentary allows the
    audience to see the transformation from despair to hope."

    - Jose Posadas, El Observador
  • "Stunningly lensed and invoking the very best of cinema vérité."

    - Mike Kaspar, Film School Radio
  • “Clean Hands represents passionate filmmaking; Intimate and powerful,
    it is a timely film that speaks to what is happening in Central America
    and takes you places you don’t expect”

    - The Cinequest Jury
  • “This film is a life altering experience filled with hope and inspiration.”

    - Eydie Mendoza, Modern Latina
  • "Beautifully crafted and sensitively assembled Clean Hands is shocking, heart-rending, and life-affirming, reflecting the complexity of human experience."

    - Ruth Coplands, It's a Question of Balance

About the Film

This is not a “garbage dump film”, though we start in one.

Shot over the course of seven years, 2011-2018 in Nicaragua, Clean Hands is a feature-length fly-on-the-wall documentary which tells the story of the Lopez family surviving against the backdrop of Central America’s largest garbage dump, La Chureca and beyond. It is about family, extreme poverty, the hope and innocence of children, rescue and salvation, and the challenges we all face.

The four Lopez children are ages 6 to 10 when we first meet them. They have never been to school. They cannot read or write. They are kids, prone to mischief and silliness. They rely on each other as siblings, playmates, companions, and friends. Unlike their parents, they don’t fully grasp what they don’t have. La Chureca is the only life, and only world, they’ve ever known.

Through fortuitous circumstance, a foundation hears of the plight of the family and comes to their aid. They build them a small house in the country that sits on land they can farm. The kids can attend school for the first time, and the family can escape the desolation and dead-end life of La Chureca.

The children take to their new lives and are excited to attend school for the first time. But, their parents, even after getting what they want, all is not well. As the family adjusts to the opportunity, new home, and farm–life, as it often does for all of us–becomes complicated. Blanca (their mother) in particular must face her demons from her troubled past. She misses her city life in Managua and abandons her family for long periods of time, leaving Javier alone to care for the children in the country, making their promising new future uncertain.

AWARDS: 

•Best Documentary Feature
Cinequest Film & VR Festival, USA 2019

•Best Documentary Feature
San Diego Latino Film Festival, USA 2019

•Documentary Gold Award
Columbus International Film Festival, USA 2019

•Documentary Audience Award, Bronze
Chicago Latino Film Festival, USA 2019

•Programmer’s Favorite
Newport Beach Film Festival, USA 2019

•Grand Jury Award, International Documentary Feature
Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, USA 2019

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CLEAN HANDS EPK

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About the Filmmaker: Michael Dominic

Michael Dominic is an multi-award winning documentary filmmaker and photographer from New York City. In the last decade he dedicated his life to making work that has a social conscience. His objective for his work is truth, to show what lies beneath the surface or out of sight.

Before Clean Hands, he made several other films, most notably the feature length documentary, Sunshine Hotel and the narrative short Tulips for Daisy.  Sunshine Hotel won three Best Documentary awards and was nominated for another dozen or so. After Sunshine Hotel’s run of almost thirty film festivals it ran on national US television for two years on Sundance Channel. Tulips for Daisy was also nominated for several awards including a nomination from the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Competition. 

His tenure as a photojournalist took him around the globe. His work has appeared in dozens of outlets including The Sunday Telegraph, The Tribune De Geneve, France-Amérique, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Playboy, Redbook, Le Figaro, Le Parisien, Bilan, Chåtelaine, L’actualité, Sundance Channel, MTV, VIVA, as well as others.

In the mid-90s he was based in London where he directed music videos, including three for Norman Cook of Fatboy Slim.

He studied film at The School of Visual arts in New York City from 1990 to 1994. At the same time he worked for Annie Leibovitz as an intern and photo assistant.

He currently lives in Jackson Heights, Queens New York with his wife Ting.

About the Music: Zoë Keating

Filmmaker Michael Dominic first heard Zoë on NPR around 2008. He knew immediately that he would use her for a film one day.

A cellist since the age of eight, Keating pursued electronic music and contemporary composition as part of her Liberal Arts studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. After graduation she moved to San Francisco and fell in love with the startup culture of the late 1990\’s, building a career as an information architect and data analyst while moonlighting as a cellist in rock bands. Keating eventually combined her love of music and technology, using a computer to live-layer her cello and performing for late-night after-parties in her San Francisco warehouse.

She is known for both her use of technology – which she uses to sample her cello onstage – and for her DIY approach, releasing her music online without the help of a record label.

The music is used sparingly throughout Clean Hands, but it sets an important tone at crucial moments.

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About the Editor: Alexandra Kristine Smith

Alexandra Kristine Smith is a film editor based in NYC. She fell into and in love with editing at her first job, where she cut concerts and music videos. Since then, she has worked on features, short films, television as well as commercials for major advertising agencies.

Alexandra holds an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons The New School for Design.

When she is not editing, Alexandra is rarely idle as she is an avid survival horror gamer, miniature food maker and helicopter cat-mom.

Find Us Online

Contact

cleanhandsmovie@gmail.com
(212) 529-9252

Screenings & Tickets

Future Screenings

New Hope Film Festival
New Hope, Pennsylvania
July 22, 2019
TICKETS AND INFO 

San Antonio Film Festival
San Antonio, Texas
August 2, 2019
TICKETS AND INFO

HBO’s New York Latino Film Festival
New York, NY
August (TBD), 2019
TICKETS AND INFO

Salento International Film Festival
Tricase, Italy
September 7, 2019 (FREE ADMISSION)
FESTIVAL INFO

Port Jefferson Documentary Series
Port Jefferson, Long Island NY
September 16, 2019
TICKETS AND INFO

Past Screenings

Cinequest Film Festival (WORLD PREMIERE)
WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

San Jose, California
March 9, 10 & 13, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

San Diego Latino Film Festival
WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

San Diego, California
March 15 & 21, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

Chicago Latino Film Festival
WINNER: DOCUMENTARY AUDIENCE AWARD, BRONZE MEDAL
Chicago, Illinois
March 30 & April 1, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

Columbus International Film Festival
WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, GOLD MEDAL
Columbus, Ohio
April 13, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO 

Ashland Independent Film Festival
Ashland, Oregon
April 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

The TRT Documentary Awards
Istanbul, Turkey
April 26 & 27, 2019
(Private screenings. Invite only.)
FESTIVAL INFO

Newport Beach Film Festival
SPECIAL MENTION: PROGRAMMER’S FAVORITE
Newport Beach, California
April 30, & May 2, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival
WINNER: GRAND JURY AWARD, INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Mammoth Lakes, California
May 24, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

Brooklyn Film Festival (NEW YORK PREMIERE)
Brooklyn, New York
June 2 & 3, 2019
FESTIVAL INFO

More to come.